Sunday, January 14, 2007

Long-awaited first post!

Okay, so I see by my 27 profile views that people are perhaps becoming a bit antsy for updates. All right, here goes:

My host family is AWESOME. Four kids at home, ages 15, 17, 19, and 22 (boy, girl, girl, girl) and all really helpful and willing to speak slowly for me. The apartment building is about a 5-minute walk from l'Arc de Triomphe, and it's not really in a residential district - just right there among the shops and restaurants. It has a courtyard and everything! My room looks out onto the courtyard, which has trees and such. I shall have to be much more vigilant about closing my curtains here than I was at school, since there's a room directly across from mine that probably, with my luck, houses a dirty old Frenchman.

Today I wandered around my neighborhood for a bit, then took the Métro to Île de la Cité (where Nôtre Dame is) and wandered around there. It being Sunday, most of the shops were closed, but the Champs-Élysées was good for people-watching. I walked along the Seine, too, and saw bikers taking their lives in their hands by whizzing along about a foot from the edge - not something I could ever do.

I paid close attention to what people are wearing so I can try to blend in some - I must buy some skinny jeans to wear with boots or ballet flats, as that is definitely the style here. Happily, Converse All-Stars are very in as well, and I just happen to have brought mine. Berets, surprisingly enough, are fashionable this season, and I think I can pull that off, so I might just have to subscribe to the oldest French fashion stereotype in the book and buy one.

I've now taken two showers in this apartment, and I can't seem to figure it out. Before you say "Dear Lord, Lisa, how hard is it to take a shower?" please continue reading and reserve judgment until the end. See, the set-up is that there's a tub, but no curtain - instead, there's a door that reaches perhaps halfway down the side and then stops, leaving the rest of one long side and one short side unprotected. That wouldn't be so bad, but then there's a faucet, like normal, a hand-held showerhead, which is nice--and no place to hang said hand-held showerhead. Faced with this dilemma yesterday, on 2 hours of sleep, I managed to get only my own clothing wet, surprisingly enough. Any suggestions? The contortions I perform are amusing, but will quickly get frustrating.

Ah bon, I'm tired and I have a full day of cell-phone buying and "This is how you behave in France" lecture-going tomorrow, so I shall go to bed.


  1. Hi Lisa, Can you take a picture of the shower with a digital camera and show it on your blog? It does sound weird. Or you could just ask them how they take showers! It sounds like a neighborhood I could get used to! Sara

  2. Pobre Lisa! You'll learn to be cleanly somehow.

  3. The Irish don't really have hot water, so my shower has a little on/off button that I need to push every 10 seconds. Frustrating.

    Also, I'm coming to visit you and we're going to see Jim Morrison's grave.


  4. Sounds like you're having a great time except for the whole shower thing. I would suggest screwing the idea of a shower and just taking a bath. However, if you are overly attached to showers, then go with trying to hang the shower head on the faucet, assuming it doesn't flip itself around. Good Luck!!

  5. Allo, Lisa,

    Sounds like you've landed on both feet - even if they are damp. Tant pis - you will soon master all manner of French plumbing, even le bidet.

    When my father was transfered to France in the summer of 1964, the Air Force put us up for a couple of weeks in L'hotel Princesse Caroline, 1 bis rue Troyon, which is just two short blocks from L'Etoile (pardon, Place Charles DeGaule) off Ave. Wagram. A wonderful place to be! After that we moved into a little housing complex named Le Petit Beauregard, west of Paris near the little crossroads of Roquencourt, between Versailles and St. Germaine. It's about an hour from L'Arc by bus. Ah, memories.

    Have a wonderful time. We'll be thinking of you.

  6. Hallo Lisa!

    I had a similar shower in Vienna, way back when, and it was not the best of situations, however, it was managable. What I did was either turn the water off completely to soap up each time, and then turn it back on to rinse when you can use your hands to control said snaky hand shower, OR, since turning the water off each time is annoying, I would often just lay it down in the tub so the water shot around my feet, but not up into the air. And of course, whenever rinsing horizontally, make sure to point yourself out the non-glass side and point the water toward the wall/glass. :) Its annoying, but it shoudl get the job done without wet clothes... (a cold body of course is a whole other problem... unless of course you learn to shampoo with only one hand, though with short hair that could actually be possible...i'm thinking jelous thoughts right now!)

    Glad you are doing well and loving it, I don't know how long you are in Paris for, but I'll be in France at the end of June, so if you'll be in Paris then I must stop by! (And if you have a chance I HIGHLY recommend Vienna!!)

    X's and O's from NYC! Allison